Ghosting... and not the festive Halloween kind can leave you reeling. It sets off a chain of events that can sometimes be hard to recover from. The term ghosting was coined in the early 2000s and has only grown in the years since. So what is ghosting, why does it happen and how can you protect yourself? Keep reading to find out.
Dear Tucumcari Tarot -
Dear Ghosted in Green Bay -
I am afraid that you are right, and that you have in fact been ghosted. I am sorry to hear that you had this experience, which sadly has become far too common in today's dating age. A 2018 survey in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships asked 1300 people to weigh in on ghosting. Over 40% of people asked had been ghosted at least once, and nearly 30% said that they had personally ghosted someone in the past.
Dating apps play a large role in this, and I see that you met James on Tinder. Unfortunately in this day and age (and perhaps worse since COVID) dating apps have become ghost central. For a lot of people they treat them as a shopping cart where they add and remove people as they try to decide what they like and want. Nearly 37% of people surveyed have said that they have multiple people that they are talking to on a dating app - the days of being someone's sole attention (at least in the beginning) seem to be behind us.
Ghosting is so painful because there is just so much that you don't know - and there are a lot of unanswered questions that can mess with your head. Was it something I did? Was it something I said? Am I not attractive? The most important thing that you need to know is this: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU - Ghosting is the result of someone else's choices, not yours. There is NOTHING wrong with you. So why do people ghost?
1. To avoid confrontation
Have you ever avoided doing something because you KNEW that it was going to be a disaster? That there might be yelling, tears and just a ton of drama? Just like you may have avoided that situation, he may be doing the same. Some guys just don't know what to do when a girl cries, or they are afraid of the fight that would be inevitable. So rather then face things head on they just stick their head in the sand - if they ignore it then it will be over and they won't have to deal with it.
We have all been in that relationship where we realize that one person is way more emotionally invested. When I was in high school I dated a guy that after THREE days told me that he loved me. Maybe he did, but that was way too fast for me. I barely knew him and he would have been happy to be picking out names for our kids! When one person is clearly in a whole other place it can be really hard to know how to deal with it, and if it isn't clear what to do then sometimes people run rather then face it head on. It sort of ties into the "wanting to avoid confrontation" answer above.
3. He is selfish or emotionally immature
He has demonstrated that all he cares about is what he thinks and feels. All he cared about was what was easiest for him. Maybe he is just not good at relationships past a point, or maybe he is just garbage at communicating. At the very least he is showing that he doesn't care about causing pain to someone else, in which case you should be saying good riddance!
4. He's just not into you or he is with someone else
Remember how I mentioned how people these days tend to treat online dating like a shopping cart? He may have ghosted you because you are just not the right fit for him, and that he has decided to go with/or is already with someone else. I can't tell you how many clients I have had that are in tears because the guy they were interested in was interested in someone else. They always want to know what is wrong with them? What does she have that they don't, etc... This is another time when this has nothing to do with you. Just like you have things that you want out of a relationship so do they. While the execution leaves something to be desired we all have the right to have standards, and to pursue the people that will give us what we need.
This one applies to both men and women. We have all encountered someone that becomes obsessive or who even borders on abusive behavior. This is a person that you can't reason with - you just have to get out. 49% of people have encountered aggressive behavior from a potential or current partner. Think about all the times you may have heard of or seen a video where some guy tried to break it off and the woman took a baseball bat to his car. In a situation like this the only thing that you CAN do is to vanish. Sticking around only makes things more chaotic and potentially more dangerous. Another thing that is an issue is what is call "coercive control" - something that 4 out of 10 people have encountered. Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. You might see it when a woman threatens to abort their child if he leaves, or someone who threatens to kill themselves if you leave. It also includes gaslighting - and in almost all cases coercive control is a crime. People who do these things are toxic and abusive... and you need to get away. They do not deserve your explanations or time. This category is a very SMALL percentage of ghosting cases though, so keep that in mind.
6. He got what he wanted
If I had to guess, this is a contributing factor in your situation with James. Your letter indicates that shortly after the two of you had sex that was when things started to drop off. Couple this with the fact that you only had a couple of in-person dates and this raises some flags. It suggests that all he wanted was to get you into bed, and once that was accomplished he saw no reason to stick around. He was off to his next conquest. You said it rocked your world, but unfortunately it doesn't sound like it rocked his. If a man ghosts you after sex, he's a jerk. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. There isn't really any excuse that can justify this one. This is something that we see a lot of when talking about dating apps - too many people these days use them for hook-ups and are less then honest with people. You mentioned that you met on Tinder, which is a red flag in and of itself. Tinder is set up to make choices based on visual cues, and becomes almost a popularity contest. It is really not suited for creating lasting relationships. Honestly - I am not a fan of dating apps in general.
So now we have dived into a lot of the reasons why people might ghost - and it is by no means a comprehensive list. I even had a client who had someone ghost and she found out about a year later it was because he went to prison! I have had others where the person got really sick (like with COVID) and was out of contact for quite a while. These don't happen often, but they CAN, so it is important to remember that you can't assume that you know what is going on - but you can deal with the actual ghosting.
OK - so how do you protect yourself from being ghosted?
Ghosting may still happen to you, but as a general rule there are a few ways that you can protect yourself and reduce the chances of it happening to you.
So at the end of the day Ghosted in Green Bay it sounds like you have in fact been ghosted. It can be hard to let go when there is no closure, but you can do it. Sit down with a pen, paper and maybe a glass of wine. Start by jotting down what you liked about the relationship and what you didn't. This can help do create an objective view of what the relationship really was. Then take your pen and paper to create your standards list if you haven't already. Finally, if you have any notes, gifts, etc from the person that ghosted you get rid of them. Wipe the slate clean. I have a lot of clients that feel it is really helpful to burn them, but throwing them out works just as well. Think of it as a form of spring cleaning. Treat it like a normal breakup, process how you feel and then move on.
Hopefully this has been helpful to a lot of you, and I encourage you to click the link below for more information on the What Do I Do When series topics and to submit your own question, or you can share your own stories and tips in the comments below!
24 years of tarot experience, 20 years experience as a mom, and a lifetime of knowledge is just rattling around in here!